Small-scale recreational prospecting for placer gold has been seen in many parts of the world including New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Wales, Canada and in the
Western United States. Prospecting for placer gold is normally done with a gold pan or similar instrument to wash free gold particles from loose surface sediment.] The use of gold pans is
centuries old, but is still common among prospectors and miners with little financial backing.
Once placer gold is discovered, the gold pan is usually replaced by sluices or mechanical devices to wash greater volumes of material. Discovery of placer gold has often resulted in
discovery of hardrock gold deposits when the placers are traced to their sources.
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